Tips for Taking Your Own Holiday Family Photos

We get asked all the time who takes all of our family photos. And with the exception of just a couple of photos, the answer is… we do. We take…

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We get asked all the time who takes all of our family photos. And with the exception of just a couple of photos, the answer is… we do. We take them ourselves! Partly it’s because we have the equipment and the know-how so we might as well just go for it, and partly it’s because you never know when the opportunity will present itself for a group picture. So we’re kind of always ready. I’ve done a little post on this before, but I thought it would be good to get into more detail about how we actually get the shots of everyone smiling with their eyes open and looking like they’re having a decent time. So! Read on for our tips on how to take your own family photos, and you’ll have your Christmas card shot in no time. xoxo

Baby Announcement

Set up your Equipment. I think that it’s absolutely crucial to have a remote shutter for your camera if you’re planning on making this a habit, or trying to get a good photo for a holiday card or something similar. It’s just too hard to keep running back and forth between your camera and your photo area if you’re using a self-timer button. Do a little research and see what remote shutter will work with your camera. We have been using this one for years; it’s less than ten bucks and works like a charm. If you’re using your smartphone you can also get a remote shutter like this one.

Once you’ve got your remote shutter, read the instructions on how to pair it with your camera. It should be in the shutter instruction booklet. Then set up your camera somewhere steady to get the shot. Note — I said “somewhere steady,” not “on your fancy tripod.” Yes, we sometimes use tripod setups for our group photos in a studio setting but more often than not we are out and about while we’re taking these photos. I’m usually caught without a tripod so I’ve been known to wing it. We’ve taken photos with the camera on our car hood, on a stroller, on my purse, on a park bench — you name it. Just be careful that you place your camera in a spot where it won’t slide off and fall. That would be TRAGIC.

Get Focused. Be sure that before you start snapping photos you check the focus on your camera, especially if you’re shooting on something that doesn’t autofocus for you. Have one family member stand in the spot where you’ll be taking your photos and take some test shots to be sure nothing is blurry. Then, once you start snapping photos, be sure that you’re all standing in the same spot and on the same plane (or distance from the camera) so that you’re all in focus.

Fighting in Marriage

Designate a Photographer. So you’ve got your remote shutter set up, and now you need someone to hold it and actually take the photos. This means that you’ll be holding the remote shutter in the images that you’re taking, but if you’re tricky you can almost always disguise it. Either Ryan or I are holding the remote in every one of these photos; sometimes you can see it and sometimes you can’t. But it never really detracts. And if it really bugs you to see it, then do a little Photoshop magic afterwards and get rid of it.

Anyway! Pick somebody to hold the shutter. We find it best to just fire away once you’re all together and take a whole mess of photos. Yes, it’s more work to sort through afterwards but when you’re all in the picture and nobody is placing or styling you, you just have to go for it. Also, you’re bound to miss a sweet moment or two if you’re waiting to press the shutter until you feel like you’re perfectly posed.

How to Make Heart Shaped Waffles for Valentine's Day

Start Playing Around. And speaking of being perfectly posed, don’t. Well, I guess maybe that’s a good rule of thumb if you have toddlers or babies, anyway. But usually our family photos are of just just goofing around and being happy together, and we’ve found that it’s what works best. It feels less stiff, everyone is more comfortable, and we always end up with photos that look relaxed and feel like us. So instead of trying to get your kids to look at the camera and smile, just try to get them to have a good time while you’re snapping. And if it’s just the two of you, don’t get too prom-photo-y. Put on some music, move around, try different positions, and just be yourselves. In the photoshoot below for our Christmas cards last year, Henry had just learned to walk and he wanted to go everywhere. At first we tried to hold him and he was not having it. So we let him wander and it made for some great images.

How to Take Your Own Holiday Photos

Pick a Child Wrangler. Another good tip for parents with babies or toddlers — one of you needs to be in charge of the kid. Instead of both getting in their face and trying to make them laugh or smile, just let one parent entertain them. The other can look at the camera or look at the kid while they’re snapping the remote shutter. The separation of duties makes things easier on everybody and is less overwhelming for the baby if they’re just focused on interacting with one parent.

Married Life // Making Friends

Feel Happy, Look Happy. The number one thing we’ve learned taking all of these photos of our family? If someone’s in a bad mood, just stop. Come back later. There’s nothing worse than bickering or being upset and trying to take a happy family photo. Be sure you start in a place where everybody’s pumped to snap some photos and nobody’s cranky or out of sorts. Come in happy and let the happy show!

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Camera Giveaway

How to Recover Photos that Have Been Deleted

Gather ’round, kids — I’m about to tell a terrifying tale of a girl who accidentally deleted a whole memory card full of photos that she hadn’t yet imported. I…

Camera Giveaway

Gather ’round, kids — I’m about to tell a terrifying tale of a girl who accidentally deleted a whole memory card full of photos that she hadn’t yet imported. I had spent a whole weekend shooting all of our spring floral posts (like this one! and this one!), and after that weekend my schedule got totally crazy. We were out of town, and a bunch of other posts started getting produced, and we all got sick, and somehow in there I neglected to import the photos from my memory card to Lightroom, which is where I organize and store my images. On one of our trips shortly after, I needed some space on my memory card and deleted everything on it, thinking that it was all imported already. A few days later, we were home and I was ready to start editing those floral photos so I started searching for them in Lightroom. Nowhere. Okayyyyy maybe I imported them into my laptop? Checked the laptop. Nope. Maybe Ryan’s computer? Nope. Nowhere. Gone. Commence panicking NOW. The good news is that this story has a happy ending, so if you’re in the same boat and are trying to recover photos that have been deleted, here’s the lowdown of how we got ours back.

Quarantine your memory card. First of all, if you’ve deleted some photos accidentally from a memory card, don’t take any photos on that card until you try to recover what you’ve deleted. It’s usually much easier (or only possible at all) if the photos haven’t actually been overwritten with new photos. I had taken a few pictures on the card but luckily we didn’t overwrite so much that what I needed was gone forever. So. Step 1, no new photos.

Don’t get hacked. A word to the wise — there are loooottts of spammy sites out there that are super shady and are really just looking to hack your poor computer while you’re panicking about your lost photos. This actually happened to us; Ryan clicked on a bad link while he was looking for a reputable data recovery site and his computer was compromised. Luckily, we have Time Machine backups of our computers but this meant that he had to essentially wipe his computer clean and restore to a backup from before he clicked the bad link. So don’t just start clicking around willy nilly.

Choose the right data recovery software. We ended up finding Ease US, which worked really well on my PNY 32 GB memory card. This particular program lets you recover 2 GB of data for free, and you pay for additional data beyond that. We didn’t need a ton of photos, so we were able to select the ones we needed and we actually got away without spending a cent. (Unless you count the stress of a bunch of lost images and a hacked computer.) That being said, I was so focused on getting the images back I was totally ready to whip out that credit card. It’s good to note, too, that usually individual memory card brands will have their own data recovery software, so do a little research to see what other program might work for you. Once you find the right program, it usually walks you through the process pretty simply.

Make your image storage dummy-proof. Ryan and I have talked forever about me starting to shoot with double memory cards in my camera, which would in a lot of instances guard against dummies like me who erase one of their memory cards. So to future-proof, be sure you examine your processes for taking and storing images. Because nothing is worse than losing photos when your job depends on them!

So long story short, after a day of stomach aches we finally got it figured out and all’s well that ends well. And you can bet I won’t be deleting accidentally again any time soon. Hope you never end up in the same situation, but that this info helps if you do! xoxo

Get Inspired // My Fave Instagram Feeds

It’s no secret that I’m in a serious relationship with Instagram. It’s like having a personally curated art gallery at your fingertips, all day long. Lately there are a few…

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It’s no secret that I’m in a serious relationship with Instagram. It’s like having a personally curated art gallery at your fingertips, all day long. Lately there are a few folks I’m following on the ‘Gram that I just can’t get enough of. Some people just get it, ya know? So I thought I’d share my recent favorite Instagrammers here, in the hopes that they inspire you and can add a little something to your feed that your eyeballs will love.

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@thiswildidea

Possibly the greatest collection of dog photos ever. Theron takes his pup Maddie on adventures that you definitely don’t wanna miss.

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@hol_fox

Holly’s love for color and sugar come together to make an insanely beautiful feed full of the most exquisite sugar cookies you’ve ever seen.

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@leslieshewring

Leslie’s feed is so lovely — it’s a gorgeous example of a truly cohesive feed. She usually sticks to a simple, serene color palette that’s like a little vacation for your eyes.

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@candyminimal

Candy Minimal is the brainchild of Matt Crump, another incredible Instagrammer! This feed is chock full of simple, bright images that’ll make your mouth water they’re so pretty.

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@happymundane

The Happy Mundane feed always inspires me with its simple, clean lines and angles. So many of Jonathan’s snaps are of simple subjects like walls or corners, but his take on them makes them look endlessly interesting!

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@linesacross

Rachel’s bright feed features a couple of hashtag series that I just love, like her dressed up pineapples!

almostmakesperfect

@almostmakesperfect

For me, Molly’s feed is a perfect mix of slices of life, DIY projects, and things that are just plain pretty. She’s got a knack for putting a new, fresh twist on trends that you never expect.

littledrill

@littledrill

Shelby’s styling is what makes her feed so fascinating to me! I can always tell which images are hers as I’m scrolling through my feed, and they always make me smile.

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@andrewkuttler

I always have to look twice at Andrew’s photos because they’re so cool and often play tricks on my eyes! He’s super clever and the composition of his images is just brilliant.

corinanika

@corinanika

If you can’t take a trip to Greece, Corina’s feed is almost as good. Scroll through her images and I dare you not to want to jump on a plane ASAP.

So those are my faves! I’m always looking for more fun peeps to follow — leave a comment with your favorites and I’ll check ’em out! And don’t forget to follow along with the Lovely Indeed feed right here. xoxo

Blue Sky Palm Tree

Why I Love Instagram So Dang Much

I asked recently what you all thought the future held for blogging, and some of the responses were so cool! One in particular had to do with Instagram, and it…

Blue Sky Palm Tree

I asked recently what you all thought the future held for blogging, and some of the responses were so cool! One in particular had to do with Instagram, and it got me thinking about how much I love that platform and exactly why. Because I know that I love to share there, like so many other people, and I know that I especially love to see what everyone else shares there, too. Sometimes even more than reading blogs. And I think I’m figuring out what it is that’s so awesome about it.

For me, it’s like the most beautiful timeline of my life with Ryan (and now Henry!). Ryan did this super fancy, nerdy thing with our tv at home — he set it up so that the screen saver on our tv is a random slideshow of all of my Instagram photos ever. Seriously, it’s one of my favorite things in the house. Sometimes we’ll leave it on and I’ll find myself taking a walk down memory lane just watching different photos slide across the screen. And it’s the best documentation of our lives together. We look back at photos and have the best time remembering things — trips, projects, meals, parties, weekends at home, getting married, bringing Henry home.

But beyond that, I love that Instagram encourages users not just to slap any ol’ photo up there and call it a day, but to be creative and intentional with the memories you make and share. Have you ever taken part in a Weekend Hashtag Project? Every Friday, Instagram encourages users to share a photo with a new, creative hashtag that they’ve made up. And they’re all so thoughtful and they encourage you to look at the world in a new way, which I love. They also have introduced me to so many creative people from all around the world, and I think it’s fascinating to see what other people share and what their version of beauty is.

Not to mention, how much fun is it to live vicarously through people? I love when people take trips and Gram it up — it’s so inspiring on so many levels. I’ve planned trips or outings to so many different amazing places because it looked fun on Instagram. No joke. It’s broadened my world (I truly mean that — no irony or sarcasm!).

So what about you? Are you as into it as I am? I know it’s not for everyone — lots of folks find it overwhelming or just plain too much. Why do you love it? Why do you hate it? Tell me your thoughts! xoxo

Surfers Art Print

Lovely Indeed Prints for Sale!

Hey gang! Major fun news to kick off your weekend! There have been so many times that I’ve posted photos here or on Instagram and had folks say they’d love to…

Surfers Art Print

Hey gang! Major fun news to kick off your weekend! There have been so many times that I’ve posted photos here or on Instagram and had folks say they’d love to hang those photos on their walls. Well… now you can!

I opened up a Lovely Indeed print shop over on Society 6, so you can buy some of your favorite prints! We’ll be adding your favorite images as we go, so if you see a photo posted anywhere that you’d love to own, give me a shout and we’ll get it into the shop. We’re starting our print game crazy strong with some of my very favorite images:

Pink Pineapple Art Print

San Francisco Skyline Art Print

Palm Tree Art Print

Bicycle Flower Art Print

TAKE ME TO THE LOVELY INDEED PRINT SHOP

Those and lots more are available in the shop, so head over and deck out your walls! Sending you all big fat high fives to go out and nail it this weekend. We’ll have lots of crazy exciting stuff going on around these parts this weekend, as we launch a big fat fancy redesign of Lovely. See you back here Monday with our new vibe! xoxo

Brussels & Amsterdam

Surprise! We snuck off to Brussels & Amsterdam! You guys, the more I travel the more I love to travel. It’s such an amazing thing to live in a world…

Surprise! We snuck off to Brussels & Amsterdam! You guys, the more I travel the more I love to travel. It’s such an amazing thing to live in a world where we can decide to go experience another culture and have the means to do it. Planes and trains and cars make the world so small and accessible. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, and I’m so glad to have a partner in crime like Mr. Lovely who’s always up for an adventure.

The last couple of days we’ve wandered tiny neighborhoods and streets for miles, stopping here and there for a local beer or a special treat. Europe is magical. I’ll do full posts with our favorite recommendations soon.

So it’s been a whirlwind, but we’re heading back to Paris today to eat more croissants. Because why wouldn’t you? xoxo

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Pieces of Paris II

My very favorites of the last few days have been chocolat chaud and croissants on a drizzly morning, a trip to the most wonderful flea market, spotting all of the…

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My very favorites of the last few days have been chocolat chaud and croissants on a drizzly morning, a trip to the most wonderful flea market, spotting all of the beautiful hidden doors, and a perfect picnic watching the sun set behind the Eiffel Tower.

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We have been on little side trips to Brussels and Amsterdam for the last couple of days — updates coming soon! My heart and my head are full of love and inspiration, and I’m so grateful for this chance to be traveling. I’m also so grateful for you following along. Cheers! xoxo

Pieces of Paris

Just a few bits and pieces of Paris so far. (I’ll definitely do a recommendations post when we’re back!) We’ve been wandering through this most perfect city with big grins…

Just a few bits and pieces of Paris so far. (I’ll definitely do a recommendations post when we’re back!) We’ve been wandering through this most perfect city with big grins on our faces. This place surely can’t be real.

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I’m never coming back. (More photos on our Instagrams, here and here.) xoxo

A Celebration Giveaway with Printstagram

Update: Giveaway now closed! Check my Instagram feed to find out if you’re the winner! Big thanks to Printstagram, and to all who entered. xoxo In honor of today, and…

Update: Giveaway now closed! Check my Instagram feed to find out if you’re the winner! Big thanks to Printstagram, and to all who entered. xoxoprintstagram

In honor of today, and the fact that we’re in Paris, and the fact that I’m going to be Instagramming up a storm, the fine folks at Printstagram are giving away a set of their square prints to one of you lucky lovelies! You’ll have the chance to win some of your very own Instagram photos, printed and sent to your doorstep. I ordered some of my own prints last year and they’re still taped and framed up all over my house. Even though digital photography is great, there’s still something so perfect about holding a photo in your hand.

Here’s all you have to do to enter. Head over to the Printstagram page and peek at all of the other cool products they have. Also make sure you’re following me on Instagram, because I’ll reveal the winner on my feed next week. Then just head back here and leave a comment to let us know you’ve entered the giveaway!

The giveaway will end Monday, August 26th at 6 pm PST and winner will be announced via Instagram on August 27th; giveaway open to U.S. residents only.

I’m so grateful that Printstagram is helping us celebrate today! I can’t wait to share photos of our travels with you, so be sure to follow along. xoxo

printitP.S. I gave my mom one of their calendars for Christmas last year, and literally every time I see her she tells me how much she loves it. Check it out.

DIY Camera Strap with Tassels

Ever since Natalie’s DIY camera strap post on DesignLoveFest, I’ve been wanting to make one of these bad boys. And with all of the traveling that we’re doing, I wanted…

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Ever since Natalie’s DIY camera strap post on DesignLoveFest, I’ve been wanting to make one of these bad boys. And with all of the traveling that we’re doing, I wanted to be carrying my camera around in style. Natalie’s tutorial is pretty awesome, so head over and check it out for the painting portion of the project. I’ll pick it up here where I diverged from the path a little bit and added my own leather tassel accents. Let’s do it!

Materials

  • 1 yard cotton webbing
  • craft paint
  • paintbrushes
  • painter’s tape
  • 2 swivel hooks
  • leather
  • scissors
  • strong glue (I prefer E-6000)
  • sewing machine
  • needle & thread

Make Time: 1 Hour

Start off by painting your cotton webbing. Natalie has some great instructions if you need guidance. Be creative and make some cool designs!

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Let the paint dry while you make the tassels. Cut a strip of leather about 1″ x 3″. Cut another tiny strip to serve as a loop.

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Fold the tiny strip in half and secure the ends together with glue.

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Fringe one long side of the other piece.

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Spread a thin layer of glue along the unfringed edge of the large piece. At one end, place the loop. Begin to roll the fringed leather around the loop tightly, rolling until it is complete. Be sure the end is securely glued. Make as many as you like!

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Once the paint on the webbing is dry, cut two additional pieces of leather, 1″ x 3″ each. Layer one piece of leather on one end of the strap and thread through a swivel hook. Sew down with a straight stitch, tracing the edges of the leather. Repeat this on the other end of the strap.

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Decide where you’d like your tassels and hand sew them to the strap. Insert the needle through the back of the strap, through the tassel loop, and back through the strap again. Repeat 3-4 times per tassel to ensure that they are secure.

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Now put it on and rock it out! I love this thing — it’s half camera strap and half necklace. And all awesome. xoxo

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New Instagram Series! #quotablefamily

I’m totally in love with this new iPhone app called Over. You can put text and drawings on your photos before you share them, and it’s so rad. The app…

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I’m totally in love with this new iPhone app called Over. You can put text and drawings on your photos before you share them, and it’s so rad. The app itself is beautifully done and it’s so easy & fun to use! I wanted to find a way to get more use out of it, so I decided to launch a new Instagram series called #quotablefamily.

The idea actually came from my mom — she wanted me to make her magnets of different things that my family members have said over the years. Each of us kind of has an iconic go-to phrase, and she wanted to capture those. Along with that, my niece is coming up with some gems these days, so there are quite a few fun quotes flying around. Mom wanted to put them on her fridge somehow, so at the end of the series I’m planning on making magnets out of the Instagram prints.

Until then, follow along! Make sure you find me on Instagram and follow my feed for the newest #quotablefamily posts every day. And I’d love if you joined in, too! Just tag me in your photo and use the hashtag #quotablefamily to make sure your photo ends up in the photostream. Let’s do this! xoxo

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